"I'm in South London, where I always am," RAY BLK says, humble under grey skies.

It's cold and wet where she sits on the phone uttering the fact, but her name travels ahead of her to warmer places where her honest R&B plays companion to a young girl singing along where the sun hasn't been hiding.

RAY's reach crosses borders like her music does genre boundaries, which is exactly what earned her the title of BBC's Sound of 2017, and precisely why the award is only the beginning. A year ago, her main focus was just getting you to listen to her. She had just released her first music video, followed by the delivery of her acclaimed debut project Durt, a few seasons later. But sincerity speaks volumes and the 22-year-old connected to an immediate growing fanbase through an honest pen and sharp vocals until she ended the year as an undeniable force.

Her most recent release, the engaging and accessible 'Patience (Freestyle)', was the perfect mantra to start the new year with and a declaration that RAY trusts the pace of her creative come-up. It was just fate that the very next day, she was awarded the BBC prize, to become the first independent artist to ever claim the title artists like Adele and Haim have also won. Patience paid off.

Congrats on everything. Just everything. From the project last year to being named BBC's Sound Of 2017. How has your life changed in a year.

Thank you. This time last year, gosh, it's so crazy. I guess I was just working on getting more listeners. It was December 2015 when I put out my first music video. So 2016 was just me getting into the music industry and doing shows. I definitely wouldn't have seen any of this coming.

You're the first independent artist to win the BBC Sound of award which is an instant legacy. No one will be able to take that from you. So what exactly does it mean to you?

It means a lot to me because it means a lot to a lot of other people as well. That's what I feel makes it really special. I feel like that happening has inspired a lot of other artists out there who are hoping to break into the industry and who are like, there is no other way to do it than with a label. Or are scared of doing it by themselves. I think it will give them that little bit of inspiration, that they can do it and go for it themselves. That makes it even more fulfilling.

What did your mom say? Because something like that has to impact your family.

Everyone is very very excited. My mom, she was just jumping for joy, to be honest. None of my family members are in music, at all, so I had to like break it down for them - What it's all about, what it means and how long it's been going for. So once they understood what it is, everyone was over the moon.

I was listening to Beats 1 the day before it was announced and Julie Adenuga played your 'Patience (freestyle)' which inspired me right then because it's just an accurate take on being a creative in general. What place were you in professionally when you wrote that?

It's so weird. It just seems like everything was really well-timed, considering it was the next day that it was announced that I won the BBC Sound Of 2017. But, I actually wrote that song in July of 2016 when I was in LA. I went out there to do my first show and just get some sessions in. And at that point, I was really in that kind of mindset where I was just working on getting more listeners. I was spending a lot of time in the studio writing new songs. And just really taking my time with everything. I was watching everybody else's journey, where I felt like I was still doing things behind the scenes slowly and working on my music. At that time, I was in that mind frame of doing my own thing and I wasn't worried about keeping up with everyone else. That my time would come. I was thinking about when the perfect time to put that out would be and it just fit in, really.

And a lot of the narrative around that song now is focused on your decision to stay unsigned. It was a recent interview with the Standard where you mentioned that you feel like you're at an early stage of your career and that labels tend to mould new artists to fit their ideals and you want the chance to mould yourself. How do you feel like you've done that and how do you feel like you still need to do that?<

I feel like I have moulded myself as an artist in terms of my sound. Before I started putting out my singles and stuff, I had been writing songs. And I felt like that was all practice for all of this, just me working on my writing and everything. Then I spent a year and a half just developing and doing a bunch of different sessions with a bunch of different producers so I can find my sound and what worked for me. So I was doing sessions with pop producers, dance producers, R&B producers, hip-hop producers and just kind of finding what would fit best with me in terms of the kind of music I wanted to make. And I'm really happy that I got the opportunity to do that by myself rather than be signed by a label and be like, "Alright, you're going to make R&B crossover pop dance music." I feel like there's still room for growth there in terms of me refining my sound. I'm in an early stage, where I'm learning how to find the best bits of myself. I'm still on that journey really and I find that the more that I work on that, the more refined I'll be and then I'll be the best version of myself.

And when it comes to your songwriting, you're being hailed for keeping it that real. You just write about your experiences and it's resonating globally. So moving forward, how do you think the concepts will change in your new work now that your life has?

I think my musical skill will continue to be me writing about where I am, how I'm feeling, even as my life continues to change. I'm sure I won't be living in the hood anymore. I'll be living somewhere with more sunshine but I'll keep writing about where I am mentally. I think it'll always be a reflection of me and the reality of my life and my experiences.

Do you feel pressure attached to that, when it comes to what you'll be creating next?

I don't know, should I? Maybe I should. But honestly, I don't feel pressure, for a couple of reasons. The main one being, I honestly didn't expect to win this list. This BBC Sound of 2017 list. It was really unexpected. And I feel as though winning that at this point in my career, and not expecting it and feeling like I'm not at my best yet, I feel like I've got more to give. So I feel like it's incredible for people to give me recognition at this point, but I don't even feel like I'm as good as I can be. I feel like, there's still room for growth and I'm excited to do that and hopefully see the success that follows from that, really. And the pressure that I feel just comes from myself and wanting to be better.

I think that means you're ready for it all. So what can we expect from you this year?

Because I was literally just starting out last year and putting out my first videos and my first singles and my proper debut project, I think people can expect a bigger, better me, to be honest. I'm always focused on improving. This year, I plan to be in the studio to make more songs that people can connect to and to do things in a bigger way. Expect some really sick visuals, more music and more shows. I'll definitely be touring this year. I haven't decided when I'll be doing my own tour but I'll be around the globe a little bit and get my feet wet. Because I don't want to jump into anything. See what's out there.